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Mobile search invisibility a hang-up for small business

Study reveals almost half of small firms part of ‘Hidden High Street’

Almost half of small businesses are failing to take advantage of the smartphone boom, with 46% rendered invisible to smartphone users using mobile search despite a 400% increase in searches over the last two years, a study has revealed.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 businesses by telecoms giant T-Mobile also found that although 42% of small business owners regularly used their mobiles to search for other businesses on Google Maps, only 16% had registered their own business on Google Places, a service which allows the business to be locatable on the Maps software. Further, although 35% of consumers were found to use internet search engines on their mobiles to search for local businesses, only 10% of small firms surveyed had ensured that their business appeared in relevant online searches. Of the businesses that had taken steps to increase their visibility for smartphone users, the study found that 68% had seen benefits over the past year, with 44% experiencing more customer enquiries and 15% directly attributing a growth in sales to the increased visibility. Martin Stiven, Vice-President of Business at T-Mobile, commented: “The summer months can be a really busy time for many small businesses in the UK and these companies need to be doing everything they can to reach new customers. We’re seeing a sharp rise in the usage of smartphones by small businesses but they’re not always thinking about how their customers are using their phones to find them. The extent of the hidden high-street is worrying and especially when you’re in direct competition with other similar businesses in your area there’s a huge advantage in making yourself visible through mobile search.”

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